Doha! What a way to spend a 5 hour layover! When I coordinate my travels, I always try to arrange my itinerary to accommodate an extended layover in a city that I’ve never visited. So on my way to Cairo, the layover destination was Doha, Qatar!
For those of you who are not geography fanatics like myself, Doha is north of the United Arab Emirates, which is where I reside, and still apart of the Middle East. This was one of the shortest flights ever. We may have been in the air for 20 minutes before they announced the landing time. What a way to fly- straight and to the point.
Before taking off, my son and his friend truly enjoyed chatting with the pilots, questioning them about every gadget they saw. I am pleased that they were able to see what in the world goes on with planes and how they function!
Upon our arrival, we immediately ran to the visa counter to inquire about our options to leave for a few hours during our layover. Once we presented our passports and boarding passes for the next flight, we were all set! It’s so simple. For those of you who have considered leaving the airport during an extended layover, it’s possible! You will need to stop by immigration of course, but there are options.
As soon as we stepped out of the airport into the busy, city like atmosephere, we hailed a taxi. I had to show this taxi picture. I absolutely LOVE the taxi colors in Doha. Therefore, here is a photo of the taxis, all waiting for the next traveling and adventurous soul.
Prior to leaving the airport, we inquired about taking a tour around Doha. The airport customer service representive advised us to go to the city center. There, she guaranteed we would find several hosts of city tour operators that we could bargain with to receive a “reasonably priced” tour.
Once we arrived, I wasn’t startled that the tour was ridicioulusly overpriced. In addition to that, we did not have enough time to complete the entire tour. Therfore, my friend and I decided to take specific stopping points of that tour that piqued our interest, and make our own “tour” in Doha. Now that’s how you know your dealing with a travel warrior. You find ways to make the most out of your layover experience!
This city is amazing, by the way. In a short time period, I sensed a vibe of ebullience, growth and sustainability. It is not on the same parallel of Dubai or Abu Dhabi, in my opinion, but it is definitely on it’s way to great prominence.
Doha reminds me of a modern city in the United States, with its high rise buildings and sprawling traffic, its personality has so much potential to be a hot commodity!
First stop on our “self made” tour was the art district. Once we left the taxi, we walked to the beach area, which is near the art district, to enjoy the sites, sounds and energy. This beach happened to be private so this is about as far as we were able to go.
Then, we stopped by an art museum. I love abstract art paintings. If I was prepared, I would of arranged to have something shipped to me for my home. I happened to capture a few of the pieces.
Afterwards, we went to this huge outdoor auditorium. It looks as if it is used for concerts. It was also perfect timing to allow my son and his friend run around for a bit. They had a ball!
The view from the stadium area was spectacular. I was able to see a remarkable view of the city.
Since we only had a couple of hours left on our layover trip, we headed over to one of the local souqs to peruse their items, food and souvenier options. The barganing is serious like no other, especially when they want to sell. I have learned so many barganing tactics during my travels to the point it becomes a natural phenomena.
There were a few pet shops there. Talking parrots. How fun!
After the souq, we decided it was best to voyage back to the airport. We didn’t want any problems with customs, security and immigration at this point. We were ready for the next stop! Cairo!
So in essence, this was a great way to see a new city in a short time period for very little money. Saving money and time are always on my list when traveling.
I hope that reading this post will encourage you to plan accordingly on your next adventure by booking a layover to an exciting and vibrant city! You never know what type of excitement, cultural exposure, beautiful sights an delicious food might await. Go for it!
Here are more random pictures of my time in Doha.
I look forward to hearing about your short but sweet layover trips!